Buying a new home is frequently listed as one of the most
stressful experiences in life.
In fact, a recent survey of 2,000 people revealed that the
majority felt purchasing a house was even more stressful than having a baby.
While that may shock some prospective house hunters, for
many others this revelation won’t be a surprise.
Funding hurdles, paperwork problems, surveys, chain
disputes, and title defects, are just some of the common issues which
first-time buyers will be all too familiar with.
Here Julie Miles, a conveyancer and Chartered Legal
Executive at leading Cardiff-based firm CJCH Solicitors, offers her advice on ensuring
your buying experience helps you unlock the door to home sweet home.
Instruct a Solicitor
You’ve found your dream home and your offer has been
accepted, so the first step is to instruct a solicitor.
It is often better to instruct a solicitor that has been
recommended to you by family or friends, who will put your interests first,
rather than a firm suggested by the agent who is likely to have a referral
arrangement with them.
Ask the solicitor to provide an estimate at the outset of
the costs and disbursements (costs paid to third parties on your behalf) so you
can budget accordingly.
Respond as quickly as possible to any information requested
by your solicitor and agree with them a realistic preferred timescale at the
Unless you have an impressive savings account, then the next
step will be to obtain confirmation of funding and a mortgage.
You may have a Financial Advisor who can source the best
deal for your circumstances, if not, most major lenders are on hand to help.
It is important that you provide your advisor or lender with
the most accurate information from the start to avoid any delays later down the
line. Most lenders are able to issue an offer within 21 days.
If you have saved in a Help to Buy Isa account your lawyer
will arrange for the government bonus to be paid to them on completion. But
ensure your solicitor is informed so they can advise you when to close the
account in readiness for completion.
What you see is what
The property will be sold “as it stands” and whilst it may
look wonderful to you, you would not wish to discover any nasty surprises once
you have moved in.
For this reason, it is advisable to arrange a survey. This
can either be done alongside the funding application or independently. This will be an additional cost but will
provide you with a qualified surveyor’s report of the property, highlighting
any urgent repair work.
A survey may also reveal excessive repair work, and if the seller
is not willing to negotiate on price, you may be forced to withdraw your offer.
These common issues frequently face first-time buyers and impact
on the average six to eight-week timescale provided.
Why would it take so
Your solicitor will check the title deeds to the property,
carrying out searches and enquiries to ensure that you buy a good and
marketable property title.
A title proves that you own the property and no-one else has
the right to purchase this.
This is a title that you will be able to sell without difficulty
in future. This will also be the
requirement of your lender.
Often there are problems with the title – perhaps the plan
is wrong, a deed is missing, there is no right of way to the front door, the
correct Planning Permissions were not obtained
– the list is endless.
Common delays tend to be caused by waiting for answers to pre-contract
enquires. This could be due to solicitors on the other side not responding
promptly, or they are not receiving the information needed from their clients
These issues and the proposed solutions will be drawn to
your attention as soon as they are noticed.
If there is a title defect, initially the seller’s
solicitors will be asked to solve it. This can cause a delay as the involvement
of third parties may need to be introduced to resolve the defect.
There can also be delays in the chain. Perhaps someone
doesn’t want to move until a certain date or perhaps a buyer at the top of the
chain is having difficultly arranging a mortgage or has had an adverse survey,
forcing them to withdraw which will have a knock on effect for the chain below.
These delays are not unusual and it is important for buyers
to have realistic expectations following the advice of their lawyer who will work
to ensure the process runs as efficiently as possible.
It is important to be prepared for such matters, to avoid disappointment
if intended timescales are significantly altered.
Whatever happens being prepared and flexible when it comes to this
process really is key. Things can, and sometimes will go wrong, but most things
can be resolved by a legal expert.
CJCH Solicitors has over 35 years’ of experience in property matters and
conveyancing. Whether you are purchasing your first home, a buy-to-let property
or expanding your property portfolio, its specialist team will guide you
through the process tailoring the service to your needs. For more information